Watch Out For Opportunistic Fraudsters

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Equifax offers ID fraud advice for students living in communal accommodation

Students looking for communal accommodation
Students should think very carefully about the number of people they will be meeting at university who will become Facebook friends with and allow access to all their information

As the new generation of University students start to plan for moving into halls or shared digs this autumn, leading ID fraud expert, Equifax, is urging them to think about how they can protect their personal information as well as their valuables. Neil Munroe, External Affairs Director, Equifax believes it’s easy to forget the value of personal information, especially when living in communal accommodation.

“Shared living throws up all kinds of challenges, from who does the washing up, to splitting the bills, but we believe ID fraud is also one that students need to take seriously.

"The realities of university life means many students are sharing accommodation which unfortunately provides fraudsters with many opportunities", continued Neil Munroe. "And combined with the fact that it can take as little as just three pieces of personal information to commit ID fraud it’s absolutely crucial that students stay alert to the risks, whether it’s skimming through post in a communal hallway or stealing a phone or laptop left lying around.

“Once a fraudster has sufficient information to steal someone’s identity it can take many hours to rectify records held by all sorts of organisations. And in the meantime, it can be exceptionally difficult to carry on with everyday life, especially where it requires access to credit, including something as simple as a mobile phone contract.”

Equifax advises that it also pays to be aware of the risks of fraud associated with social networking sites and posting any personal information online, including CVs. “Students should think very carefully about the number of people they will be meeting at university who will become Facebook friends with and allow access to all their information”, added Neil Munroe. “How well do they really know these 'friends' and trust them not to abuse their personal information?

“The key to protecting your identity is not to leave personal information lying around and think twice about what information you post online or give out."

EQUIFAX’S TOP STUDENT TIPS FOR AVOIDING ID FRAUD

  •     If you have a communal hallway, get important documents such as bank and credit card statements sent recorded delivery or delivered to a family home address.
  •     Password protect all digital devices, including smart phones.
  •     Don’t store PINs and passwords on mobiles and laptops, as thieves will be able to use this information to access your personal information.
  •     Try not to access online banking and secure sites in internet cafes and make sure you log out of the site rather than just closing the window.
  •     Keep personal documents secure – when you go out make sure you only take those documents you need.
  •     Never share your password or PINs to a friend.
  •     Don’t give out all your personal information on your CV when posting it online or making it available to others – you can always provide more information at a later date.
  •     Check that websites on which you upload personal details have security locks to reduce the risk of them being hacked into.
  •     Redirect mail if you move so personal information can’t be accessed by fraudsters.
  •     Always check bank statements and credit card statements carefully against receipts to ensure fraudulent activity has not taken place.
  •     Make sure you have the latest virus protection that ideally updates hourly.
  •     Check your credit report regularly to ensure there has been no unauthorised activity.

The Equifax Credit Report is accessible for 30 days free simply by logging ontoour website . If customers do not cancel before the end of the 30 Day Free Trial, the service will continue at £9.95 per month, giving them unlimited online access to their credit information and weekly alerts on any changes to their credit file. It also includes an online dispute facility to help them correct any errors on their credit file simply and quickly.

About Equifax

Equifax is a global leader in consumer, commercial and workforce information solutions, providing businesses of all sizes and consumers with information they can trust. We organize and assimilate data on more than 500 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide, and use advanced analytics and proprietary technology to create and deliver customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.

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Clare Watson | Nakhalar Sterling | Wendy Harrison
Equifax
+44 20 8977 9132
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